People Pleaser

Symptoms

and Techniques

to Overcome it

Your Coachee spends a great deal of time doing things for other people, forgetting himself/herself. He/she never says “no” and people always count on him/her for a favor.

Ask your Coachee to list of as many people they can think of in the network of friends, family and colleagues. Ask your Coachee to draw 6 circles and put the names in each:

  1. Supporter – there for your Coachee and boosting his/her confidence

  2. Vampire – someone who seems to suck your Coachee's energy, confidence and life out of him/her.

  3. Role Model – a person whom your Coachee admires, looks up to and respects.

  4. Consultant – someone who has the information or influence that can help you achieve your goals.

  5. Honest friend – a friend who “Tells It Like It Is” without holding back.

  6. Enemy – a person who actively does not want your Coachee to succeed and undermines his/her efforts.

Analyse which group outweighs the others. Which people does your Coachee want to keep in his/her life?

Relationship Mapping

This exercise allows the Coachee to visualise the type of people who surround him/her and assess those relationships.

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The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair Technique helps the coachee verbalise what’s going on, the abstract becomes more concrete. As the coachee takes on the other person’s role, he/she gains insight into his/her own perspective as well as the other person's.

The Coachee faces two empty chairs, picturing in one chair, the person the Coachee is pleasing and an Observer in the other chair. First, the Coachee speaks to the person he/she is pleasing about the situation, feelings and thoughts. Then, he/she moves to the other chair, responding to what has been said from the other person's perspective, taking on their role. The Coachee can move back and forth several times to continue the dialogue. Meanwhile, you can explore with questions and insights. Then the Coachee moves to the Observer chair and expresses what the Observer thinks.

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Limiting Beliefs

Your Coachee needs to identify common limiting beliefs that prevent him/her from living the life that he/she desires and reshapes them positively. An example of limiting belief could be "I have to try hard to make people like me".

  1. Step 1: Ask your Coachee to imagine and write on a paper his/her life if money and time was no issue. Write as many details as possible.

  2. Step 2: ask your Coachee that are preventing him/her to reaching this dream life.

  3. Step 3: ask him/her write the childhood negative stories he/she tells himself/herself such as "my parents were poor", "my father was violent".

  4. Is there any overlap between Step 2 and 3. Analyse the answers.

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Common Symptoms

  • Pretending to agree with everyone

  • Feeling responsible for how other people feel

  • Apologising often

  • Feeling burdened by the things he/she has to do

  • Can't say no

  • Feeling uncomfortable if someone is angry at him/her

  • Acting like the people around him/her

  • Needing praise to feel good

  • Going to great lengths to avoid conflict

  • Doesn't admit when feelings are hurt

4 Techniques

to Help Overcome People Pleasing

Ask your Coachee to focus his/her attention on four components when communicating:

  1. Observation: focusing on facts, no interpretation or generalisation

  2. Feelings: expressing feelings without judgment

  3. Human needs: empathise with the other person's needs

  4. Requesting with Empathy vs Demanding

Non-Violent Communication

The Technique of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) involves expressing thoughts with clarity, compassion, self-responsibility, empathy, and the common good in mind, which is the exact opposite of what violent communication is.

Nonviolent Communication and Self Awareness | Maria Engels | TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool

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Sources:

  • The Impostor Syndrome: Becoming an Authentic Leader, by Harold Hillman, Chris Abernathy, et al

  • The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress and Anger that Trigger Addictive Behaviors (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook), by Rebecca E. Williams PhD and Julie S. Kraft MA

  • Coach's Casebook, by Kim Morgan

  • Compassion for All Creatures, by Janice Gray Kolb

  • Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing "Never Good Enough", by Lisa Van Gemert

  • The Fulfillment of All Desire, by Ralph Martin

  • Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, by Tal Ben-Shahar

  • The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome, by Harriet B. Braiker

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